Black children disproportionately affected by COVID

Leeann Peoples’ 6-year-old daughter. Photo courtesy Leeann Peoples

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every corner of the world. As the infection spreads, the mortality rate remains high, and the economic devastation is unprecedented

The pandemic has revealed a formidable racial disparity in the United States, putting racial and ethnic minorities at a particular disadvantage, accentuating and amplifying racial health inequality.

According to The New York Times, “1.7 million African American women were left unemployed due to the nationwide pandemic shutdowns, which, in turn, made Black children especially vulnerable. Thirty-two percent of Black children in America live in conditions of poverty.”

Even though the coronavirus impacted people of all backgrounds, its detrimental effect on Black families has been considerably more consequential, causing negative repercussions on their health and living conditions.

Lawanda Jones, a Leon County resident and grandparent, said that COVID-19 has made it hard for her 9-month-year-old grandson.

“COVID-19 made it hard for him to be entered into day care,” Jones said. “It made the process longer and it also made me think twice about even exposing him to different kids and adults.”

The jobs report has recently provided solid evidence of a persistent inequity in employment opportunities for Black and Hispanic workers.  Many Black mothers experience difficulties finding jobs, which influence the economic health of their children since the significant majority of Black mothers are the primary breadwinners for their families.

Before the pandemic, many Black children had already experienced sustained poverty; however, COVID-19 exacerbated their economic and health conditions.

COVID-19 has impacted some children in different ways and many parents feel as they have done their best to keep their kids safe from COVID-19.

Leeann Peoples, a Leon County resident and parent, said that COVID-19 has been tough for her 6-year-old daughter.

“We have seen first-hand the effects of COVID-19 in adults and in kids that are overweight and that has had a pre-existing condition and how deadly it is,” Peoples said. “I’ve been trying to follow CDC guidelines; my daughter wears her mask out and we try to limit the people she’s around. COVID-19 has taken away a lot of social growth and brought about more anxiety for my daughter. COVID-19 has also made my daughter aware of germs and how important it is to wash hands and be with family.”

Losses in income, employment, and food supply has led to family instability, which inevitably affects children’s cognitive and academic outcomes.

The pandemic disproportionally affected the academic activities of African American children since elementary and secondary schools across the country shifted to online learning, and, consequently, many children had to cancel the class due to the unfavorable conditions caused by COVID-19.